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November GEOLOGY and GSA TODAY highlights

extensional strain across the province homogeneously distributed, as is suggested by the uniform spacing and geometry of Basins and Ranges across the Province? Or is extensional strain concentrated in localized zones, as is suggested by the concentration of earthquakes, for example in the Intermountain seismic zone near Salt Lake City? The authors conclude the former - a broadly distributed deformation. By contrasting the observed GPS data with longer term geologic data, they propose a model that may reconcile complex non-linear changes in the velocity field, the apparent uniformity of the geologic pattern of strain, and the concentration of seismicity in narrow belts. According to the model, major anomalies in the velocity field result from strain pulses caused by earthquakes that occurred many decades ago, and that these pulses may influence the likelihood of earthquakes on other faults in the system. If so, combining geologic and geodetic data, as in this study, offers a potential to understand fault system behavior - especially how short term effects from one earthquake can influence patterns of stress build-up on nearby faults. These types of data are essential for developing better seismic risk assessments and linking the time tables of seismic shocks to the longer term geologic record, and vice versa.


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Contact: Ann Cairns
acairns@geosociety.org
303-447-2020 ext 156
Geological Society of America
24-Oct-2000


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